Most rappers don't go by their given names when they hit the stage, and often for good reason. Somehow chanting Trevor Smith instead of Busta Rhymes just doesn't feel right for the turn-up.
While some hip-hop icons break the mold by actually using the name their parents gave them, like Kanye West or Tupac Shakur, it doesn't work out that way for many of our favorite MCs. For some hip-hop heavyweights, their alter-egos carry more than just stage presence. Their chosen names may hold sentimental value or represent their brand, and a few have even changed their legal names to their stage personas.
But even some of the most devoted hip-hop fans don't know the real names behind the rappers whose music they love. Some of these names you may already know while others might surprise you. Here's our list of the 25 most surprising name revelations, but for the definitive list of rappers' real names, click through the slideshow down below.
Correction: A previous version of this story listed “Curtis Jackson” as 50 Cent’s stage name. The story has been updated.
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